On the morning in question she was reliving all these memories with unusual distinctness, for it was a fortnight since she had seen her friend. Mrs. Deering, some six weeks previously, had gone to visit a relation at St.-Raphael; and, after she had been a month absent, her husband and the little girl had joined her. Lizzie’sadieux to Deering had been made on a rainy afternoon in the damp corridors of the Aquarium at the Trocadero. She could not receive him at her own pension. That a teacher should bevisited by the father of a pupil, especially when that father wasstill, as Madame Clopin said, si bien, was against that lady’s austere Helvetian code. From Deering’s first tentative hint of another solution Lizzie had recoiled in a wild unreasoned flurry of all her scruples, he took her “No, no, no!” as he tookall her twists and turns of conscience, with eyes half-tender and half-mocking, and an instant acquiescence which was the finest homage to the “lady” she felt he divined and honored in her.
So they continued to meet in museums and galleries, or to extend, on fine days, their explorations to the suburbs, where now and then, in the solitude of grove or garden, the kiss renewed itself, fleeting, isolated, or prolonged in a shy, silent pressure of the hand. But on the day of his leave-taking the rain kept them under cover; and as they threaded the subterranean windings of the Aquarium, and Lizzie looked unseeingly at the monstrous faces glaring at her through walls of glass, she felt like a poor drowned wretch at the bottom of the sea, with all her glancing, sunlit memories rolling over her like the waves of its surface.
“You’ll never see him again—never see him again,” the wavesboomed in her ears through his last words; and when she had said good-by to him at the corner, and had scrambled, wet and shivering, into the Passy omnibus, its great, grinding wheels took up the derisive burden—“Never see him, never see him again.”
All that was only two weeks ago, and here she was, as happy as a lark, mounting the hill to his door in the spring sunshine. Soweak a heart did not deserve such a radiant fate; and Lizzie saidto herself that she would never again distrust her star.